(CNN) Russian President Vladimir Putin said relations between his country and China have “reached new stages” as Wang Yi, Beijing’s top diplomat, concluded a visit to Moscow on Wednesday.
“Russian-Chinese relations are developing as we planned in previous years. Everything is moving forward and developing,” Putin told reporters, sitting next to Wang. “Cooperation in the international arena between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, as we have said many times, is very important for the stability of the international situation.”
Wang’s high-profile visit, just days before the anniversary of the Kremlin’s all-out conquest of Ukraine, is widely believed to be a precursor to a meeting between Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. In December 2022, Putin and Xi held a virtual meeting, in which the Russian leader described the relations between the two countries as “the best in history,” saying that they could “endure all tests,” and invited Xi to visit Moscow in the spring of 2023.
On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the two leaders would meet in the “coming months,” citing people familiar with the plan. The Wall Street Journal reported that arrangements for the trip are in an “early stage” and the timing has not been finalized, adding that the trip could be in April or early May.
Wang arrived in Moscow just days after U.S. officials announced their concerns about how China’s continued partnership with Russia might affect the war in Ukraine — and hours after Putin delivered a major speech about the conflict, announcing his plans to Suspension of Russia’s involvement In the last remaining nuclear weapons treaty with the United States.
The Chinese diplomat held several high-level meetings in the Russian capital during his visit, speaking with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier Wednesday and Nikolai Patrushev, the head of Russia’s Security Council and one of Putin’s closest allies, on Tuesday.
Wang told Lavrov that he expected the two countries to reach a “new consensus” on promoting bilateral relations.
“Today I would like to continue exchanging views with you, my old friend, on strengthening our mutual relationship, and I believe we will definitely reach a new consensus,” Wang told Lavrov on Wednesday.
“No matter how the international situation changes, China has been and remains ready to maintain the positive trend with Russia in building a new type of cooperative relationship between major powers.”
Wang, who was congratulated by Lavrov on his recent promotion to the position of chief foreign policy adviser to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, said he would strive to “strengthen and deepen Sino-Russian friendship” no matter what.
Under the leadership of Xi and Putin, the two countries have maintained their strategic resolve, Wang said, and — in an apparent dig at the United States — “resolutely oppose any unilateral behavior or bullying, and unswervingly safeguard their sovereignty, security, safety and development interests.”
On Tuesday, Wang told Patrushev that Beijing’s relations with Moscow are “as solid as a rock.”
“China-Russia relations are mature and solid as a rock, and will stand the test of the changing international situation,” Wang was quoted by the Russian news agency Sputnik as saying.
“We are willing, with the Russian side, in accordance with high-level agreements, to resolutely defend national interests and dignity, and promote mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields,” Wang said.
Patrushev told Wang that China and Russia must stick together in the face of increasing pressure from the West, citing what he falsely described as “the bloody events unleashed by the West in Ukraine” as an example.
Russia has repeatedly accused the West of inciting war in Ukraine, while trying to deny its responsibility for the deaths of tens of thousands of people — and Beijing has parroted the message, blaming Moscow’s unprovoked invasion on the United States and its NATO allies. allies.
“In the context of the collective West’s campaign to contain Russia and China, deepening Russian-Chinese coordination and interaction in the international arena bears special significance,” Sputnik quoted Patrushev as saying.
Patrushev also said that Russia and China should strive to create a “more just” new world order, one that challenges the unipolar hegemony of the collective West, according to Sputnik.
a Read China’s foreign ministry said the two officials agreed to oppose “Cold War mentality, confront bloc and ideological opposition” — a somewhat veiled criticism of the United States — and do more to “improve global governance,” an apparent reference to Beijing. and Moscow’s ambitions to reshape the world order in its favour.
The statement added that Wang and Patrushev “also exchanged their views” on the Ukraine issue, without elaborating.
Concerns about the role of China
Wang’s visit follows the US president Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Monday, in a show of support for the embattled country, which Washington and its European allies have rallied together to support over the past year through military and humanitarian aid, and economic sanctions against Russia.
The Chinese leadership claimed neutrality in the conflict but instead refused to condemn the Russian invasion Expanding business relations the continuation of large-scale joint military exercises, Including this week.
But during his engagements in European cities in recent days, Wang has tried to present China as a pacifist and negotiator, saying at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on Saturday that Beijing will state its position on the issue. “political settlement” from the crisis.
These statements were met with skepticism from many Western leaders who closely monitor any support China gives to its northern neighbor, especially amid Fears That Beijing is considering providing lethal military aid to Russia.
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang reiterated Beijing’s messages on Ukraine at a security forum in the Chinese capital. He said China is “very concerned” that the conflict will “spin out of control”, and will continue to urge peace talks and provide “Chinese wisdom” for a political settlement.
“At the same time, we urge the relevant countries to immediately stop pouring fuel on the fire, stop blaming China, and stop exaggerating Ukrainian rhetoric today, and Taiwan tomorrow,” he said, clearly referring to the United States and the United States. its allies.
CNN’s Anna Chernova contributed to this report
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